Well, it’s about time I do a review on my own car, the 2016 C7 Corvette Z06. I absolutely love this car!! The power, the handling, the ease of the manual transmission and the practicality of this car cannot be matched.
This is my 5th Vette. My first was a 1993 C4 Anniversary edition, then a 1997 C5 and then a 2003 C5 Anniversary Edition. The 2003 was my experiment car………….as I made some modifications. The car had 350 HP when new and we got it up to 625 HP. We added headers, a new exhaust, a “procharger” supercharger, rebuilt the rearend and beefed up the automatic transmission (yes, I had an automatic at one time) and a few other things. After a couple of track days and when things started to break, I got a 2006 C6 Z06 with a manual transmission.
The C6 Z06 really changed things for the Corvette and for me. It had been a number of years since I had driven a manual transmission. The extra level of engagement while driving truly made you appreciate the car that much more. I soon found myself searching for great driving roads and additional track days. The only mod I did to this car was to put on new wheels and tires………. that’s it. With it’s 6 speed Manual, 7.0 liter pushing 505 HP, I was not lacking on performance and I just wanted to drive it every day.
The C7 Stingray was introduced in 2014 to rave reviews. Design, handling, power and performance all set new standards for the Corvette. They also introduced “rev-match” with the new 7 speed manual transmission. Rev-match is the coolest option ever……..more on that later. As much as I liked the new C7 Stingray, I knew they would offer a Z06 model within a year or two. Sure enough, the Z06 was offered as a 2015 model. The car was amazing with a 6.2 liter Supercharged V8 pushing 650 HP and 650 ft lb torque and available with a 7 speed manual transmission with “rev-match”………how cool was that!! Then I saw a picture of the C7 Z06 in a “Shark Gray” color………. it was gorgeous!! I knew I wanted one!!
The Z06 is a somewhat limited production car and a little difficult to find. Also, when they first came out, most dealers had a $10,000 to $20,000 dealer mark up over retail. I could not find one locally and did not want to pay the premium price. I ended up on a waiting list to order one from a local dealer in Rio Vista, Ca. “Abel Chevrolet” in Rio Vista is the corvette mecca in Northern California. The service manager there, Rich Willhoff, is a two time national champion in the Optima Battery Ultimate Street Car series driving a C6 Z06. You should checkout the reviews on Yelp about Abel Chevrolet and the number of Corvette owners that drive for hours to have their Vettes serviced in Rio Vista. Abel Chevrolet agreed to sell me the car for sticker price once they had the allocation to order one.
After a couple of months waiting to place my order, I started looking online for other Corvette dealers. I came across MacMulkin Chevrolet on the other side of the country from California in Nashua New Hampshire. They claim to be the 2nd largest Corvette dealer in the United States and consistently had over 300 corvettes for sale.
I had been looking for months when I came across MacMulkin Chevrolet. I wanted the Shark Gray color with silver wheels, black leather interior and a manual transmission……………. do you know how hard that was to find. Most Vettes had black wheels and approx 75% of them had automatic transmissions. I found the exact car I wanted to order on their lot. It had the silver wheels, a manual transmission and black nappa leather interior. It was perfect!!
MacMulkin Chevrolet was awesome to deal with. They have a corvette team that has been there for years and they are experienced in selling all over the US. They agreed to sale the car for $3,000 under sticker which was unheard-of in California at the time. Then they made all the arrangements to have the car shipped to me by Intercity Lines. The transportation cost was $2,000, so I still got the car for a little under sticker price.
It was super cool having the car delivered to my front door by Intercity Lines!! Over all, it was just a great experience!!
A Little History
It all started back in 1963, when the Z06 was introduced as an option package, not a model. The Z06 package was for those who wanted to use the Corvette on the track. Zora Arkus-Duntov is the legendary Corvette engineer that got the Z06 its start. Since he was also a race enthusiast, he wanted to give the Corvette a package that would allow it to perform competitively on the track. There were only 199 Z06 packages ordered in 1963. The only engine option for the Z06 was a 327 cubic in V8 producing 360 HP.
We didn’t see the Z06 again until it was introduced in 2001 as an actual model, not just an option package. The fifth generation corvette (C5) was introduced in 1997 with the Z06 being offered from 2001 to 2004.
The engineers wanted to make sure the new Z06 would be the best performing one yet. One of the best ways to do this was to make the car lighter. A limited hardtop body was introduced, which had a fixed-roof design that was stiffer and lighter than the one on the coupe. It also saw the introduction of thinner glass, lighter wheels, a titanium exhaust system, and even a lighter battery.
The 2001 Z06’s Gen III small block engine was able to produce 385 HP. Thanks to unique internal parts, like an improved camshaft and higher-compression pistons. In 2002, the Z06’s engine was able to put out 405 horsepower, which was a large amount at the time.
The 6th generation corvette (C6) was introduced in 2005, with the Z06 showing up in 2006. The Z06 was now able to compete with the world’s most capable supercars, with a 6:2:1 power-to-weight ratio. This power-to-weight ratio was one of the best ones in the world, and allowed it to attain 0-60 in 3.7 seconds. The C6 Z06 also saw the introduction of an aluminum frame that reduced weight by another 136 lbs.
The 7.0-liter LS7 small block engine was introduced to this generation of Corvette, which made it (again) the fastest Corvette ever produced during this time. This was thanks to the new lightweight frame that was produced, which worked in tandem with the small-block engine that put out 505 horsepower.
Now, we have the 7th generation (C7) Corvette Z06. The supercharged engine on it was the first offered for a Z06 and it’s the strongest engine yet. The supercharged engine on the Z06 puts out 650 horsepower with the same amount of pound-feet torque. The C7 generation was the first Z06 to be offered with an automatic transmission along with a manual, all previous Z06’s had a manual transmission only.
The Z06 comes with a 6.2 L (376 cu in) supercharged and inter-cooled LT4 V8 engine with Rotocast A356T6 aluminum cylinder heads and a 1.7-liter Eaton R1740 TVS supercharger, which generates 650 hp at 6,400 rpm and 650 lb⋅ft at 3,600 rpm of torque, giving the Z06 a top speed of 185 mph. The Z06 is available with a Tremec seven-speed manual with rev-matching technology (rev match is awesome!!) or a hydramatic 8l90 eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters.
Changes to the body of the Z06 include a removable carbon fiber roof panel, a front splitter, a unique carbon fiber hood with a larger vent, larger front fender vents and unique air blades over the inlets on the rear fenders, a larger unique rear spoiler, and rear-fascia openings that are larger than that of the Stingray. The redesigned mesh pattern on the front fascia allows for maximum airflow to the supercharger’s inter-cooler heat exchanger, while dedicated brake-cooling intakes and wider grille outlets on the bottom serves as air diffusers. It rides on 19×10-inch front and 20×12-inch rear spin-cast aluminum wheels on Michelin Pilot Sport P285/30ZR19 front and 335/25ZR20 rear tires.
You can also choose the Z07 performance package (I don’t have this on mine as it is really designed for track time)) which includes Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 P285/30ZR19 front and 335/25ZR20 rear tires, carbon ceramic brakes, larger winglets on the front splitter, more pronounced side skirts, and an adjustable transparent center section on the rear spoiler.
The optional carbon-fiber aero package (in either black or a visible carbon-fiber finish) adds a carbon fiber front splitter with aviation-style winglets, carbon fiber rocker panels, and a larger rear spoiler with a fixed wickerbill – a small, vertical tab at the edge of the spoiler that significantly increases downforce.
Comfort and Practicality
I have read so many reviews about the C7 Z06 not being a practical car………. but they are wrong. The Z06 has 5 driving modes, from “economy”, I’ve never used it, “weather” which I have used and is great in the rain, “tour” which really makes the car run relatively soft over rough surfaces, “sport” which stiffens the suspension, tightens up the steering and increases throttle response and “track” which is best for the track as the stiffer suspension can be rough on anything other than a smooth track surface. We primarily use “tour” and “sport”.
The combination of power, sound, ease of driving, the ability to remove the top and still have plenty of room for luggage for an overnight get away or a week-long adventure!! We can literally get our luggage fitted in the back and still have room to take the top off and stow it in the back (the new C8 can’t make than claim as the top takes up the whole trunk in the back).
I am in search of a car that is a better road trip car than the C7 Corvette Z06…………. I haven’t found it yet. This car is so much fun to drive. If we are on the freeway we typically put it in “tour” mode and when we find our nice two lane twisties we switch to “sport” and get going.
There’s nothing quite like driving this car on a nice windy two lane mountain road. The sound of the big V-8, the feeling of the crisp air, the blue sky above and the beautiful green forest on the mountains in the distance. The feeling you get as you prepare for the corner ahead, hitting the brakes, down shifting while hearing the incredible sound the engine makes as the “rev-match” blips the RPM’s up while the exhaust roars in the background. As you begin the turn you are stunned by the amount of grip, as the front tires seem to pull you through the corner ………….. The way the Z06 turns in is like no other car I have ever driven and it doesn’t know the word “understeer” as your confidence builds as the car continues to bite hard through the corner. All this with the top and luggage in the back.
I have had the opportunity to drive quite a few cars of late in search of a car I might like better than the C7 Corvette Z06………..nothing yet. I have driven a Ferrari 430, a Lamborghini Gallardo, a Porsche 911 Turbo, a 2020 Audi R8, a 2019 Cayman GTS with a manual transmission and a 2019 Porsche 911 Carrera S with a manual transmission. I am never disappointed to get back in the Vette. Though I would like to have all the cars I mentioned, I would not give up the Vette for any of them!!
The C7 Corvette Z06 is that good and that much fun!!! I Love This Car!!
Enjoy the Road!!
Exotic Cars and Road Trips